Nurse Karin Berntsen share three ways women can prevent medical errors before arriving at the hospital.
Ladies, I’d like to give you three important tips for being part of your healthcare team and helping to prevent medical errors in the hospital. The first most important thing is that you become knowledgeable about your disease or your condition. If you are going in for a certain type of procedure, read about that procedure, but go to knowledgeable sources. Know a little bit about that. You are not going to be an expert nor are you are going to try to tell your doctor what to do, but it will help you, and that leads me to my second tip – ask questions.
When you do that research and you understand about your condition you can ask appropriate questions. You can say, “Doctor, I understand the infection rates for this surgical procedure are ‘x’ in the United States, do you know your rates at your own hospital?” Or, “What are your personal rates for post-surgery infections,” and the third is get an advocate.
When you are in the hospital or a loved one is in the hospital make sure there’s an advocate, somebody who can help ask those questions, can help look into the situation and speak up for you if you can’t. This is particularly important if you take care of elderly parents, certainly if your children are having healthcare you want to be their advocate.
About Karin Berntsen, R.N.:
Karin Berntsen, R.N., is the Director of Quality and Risk Management at Alvarado Hospital in San Diego, California. She is also the Patient Safety Officer for the hospital. Nurse Berntsen has worked at Alvarado for more than four years, authored two books on patient safety, and believes passionately that all patients should have the best, safest care possible when they are in the hospital.